Part 2: One-on-one with creative executive and author Thembisa S. Mshaka

(This is Part 2 of my interview with Thembisa S. Mshaka, a 5-time Telly winning creative executive, copy editor, on-air and off-air producer, and author of business mentoring guide Put Your Dreams First. Missed Part 1? Click Here)

JM: Like I said to you before, I love this book.

TM: Thanks so much Brother Jesse, such a huge compliment coming from you.

JM: You wrote something interesting about Dawn Haynes, Dawn to Dusk Image Agency’s founder and CEO. You said she controlled her money instead of letting it run her. How critical is this when we see so many entertainers and even athletes ending up dead broke after seeing millions in their bank account?

TM: More critical than ever as the economy falters and the poverty gap widens along with the growing incarceration rate. To be philanthropic, you need to have money to give, and if you burn it, everyone loses. I’m not saying stars are solely responsible for social ills, but they are looked to by their fans and communities as role models. Fiscal staying power is a great model for us all.

JM: Do you think men would disagree with your statement, “Entertainment would not be the pervasive global force it has become if women weren’t handling their business”?

TM: Actually, they might at first, but not after reading the book! I’ve had an overwhelmingly positive response to my book from male readers. I think part of it is because I don’t bash men in the book. But I also think that’s because I came up in the rap game, and can communicate and relate to men very well as a result.

JM: I have to admit that your book taught me a lot and you provided me with some wisdom that I can apply in my endeavors outside of the entertainment industry. What is the overall impact you want to make on readers when they pick this up?

TM: I hope that it helps women keep their heads up and gives men insight on what their female counterparts experience in a non-threatening way. If my book cuts down on harassment and increases awareness while advancing someone’s career, then I’ve accomplished my goal.

JM: Do you think the entertainment industry has done a horrible job in acknowledging the contributions of women?

TM: Absolutely. We as an industry are woefully imbalanced in this area and objectification is the order of the day. If so, what more needs to be done? Women need to be included and highlighted alongside men, not just in gender segregated groups on programs, magazine articles and Top-whatever lists, and during conferences. And when we are celebrated as women, it should be in our totality, not just as window dressing. Shout out to founder DJ Beverly Bond and Black Girls Rock! And Martha Diaz of the H2O Foundation, organizations that understand the latter point very well.

JM: What projects are you presently working on?

TM: I am working on the next two books at once; one is a companion book of affirmations to Put Your Dreams First. The other is a secret! Also working on my first screenplay, which is scary but liberating! I am also building my own social network to give people answers to their burning industry questions at www.handleyourentertainmentbusiness.com. My next signing and panel are at the Congressional Black Caucus Authors Pavilion on September 17th.

JM: Are you conducting any seminars about the strategies you provide in your book?

TM: Actually, yes. Touring in support of the book has led me to partner with film casting veteran Winsome Sinclair to give a one-day professional development seminar called Passion To Action in cities nationwide, starting September 25, 2010 in Washington, D.C. and my book comes with registration. For anyone who wants to register and get details, they can visit www.thepassiontoaction.com

JM: Again, thank you so much for your time.

(To get your personal copy of the book "Put Your Dreams First" please visit www.putyourdreamsfirst.com or thembisamshaka.com. Follow Thembisa on Twitter @putyrdreams1st and join her Facebook HYeB Group

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